A pair of Alabamians were tracked down in Florida in connection with the murder of two Birmingham grandparents, whose bodies were discovered earlier this month after police found their grandson wandering the street covered in blood, police said.
Zachary Phillips, 23, and Kristen Gullion, 30, were arrested August 10 in the Florida cities of Hollywood and Miami Beach, respectively, after cops spotted Gullion driving a car belonging to Joe Holt, 68, and Mary Holt, 67, who were found dead August 2 in their Birmingham home, according to Sgt. Johnny Williams, of the Birmingham Police Department.
Now, Florida is looking to extradite the pair to face justice for the brutal slaying, Williams told Oxygen.com.
“The suspects are still in the custody of the authorities in Florida, but we’ve obtained warrants for their extradition, and once they’ve finished with their investigation down there, they’ll be transported back here,” Williams said in a phone call on Wednesday.
Officers first located the bodies of the Holts on August 2, when they responded to a call about a lost child, according to police. When the officers arrived, they found a little girl, about three or four years old, wandering in the street with blood-stained clothes, Williams told Oxygen.com.
The child then led police to the home of the Holts, where officers found the couple’s bodies. Williams told Oxygen.com officials are currently withholding the cause of death pending the investigation, but he said they had not been dead for long.
“We don’t believe they had been there for more than a day,” he said.
It was not immediately clear to police what relationship, if any, Phillips and Gullion have to the victims, Williams added.
But neighbors of the Holts told the Alabama news site AL.com that Phillips and Gullion had been living with friends across the street from the Holts for a short time leading up to the murders.
The house had previously been leased as a halfway house by an organization called Expect a Miracle, but the group told Patch.com that they were no longer leasing the home, and that a graduate of the program had been living there after Expect a Miracle terminated the lease, Patch reports.
The couple, who share a young son who can be seen in photos featured on each of their respective Facebook profiles, are both convicted felons, and at the time of the murders had warrants out for their arrests for failing to complete court-ordered substance-abuse treatment, AL.com reports.
The suspects, who are set to be charged with murder and burglary upon their extradition to Alabama, were located a little more than a week later, when police in Miami Beach pulled over Gullion on August 9 after spotting an illegally parked 2012 Honda Civic allegedly stolen from the Holts, according to AL.com.
When an officer pulled Gullion over, she told him the car belonged to a friend, and that “in situations like this, her father told her to keep her mouth shut,” the news site reported.
Gullion was charged with grand theft auto and ordered held on the out-of-state warrant, records show. She is currently locked up at the Miami-Dade County detention facility.
Phillips was busted a short while after Gullion in nearby Hollywood, when cops spotted him and a woman driving in a stolen Ford Mustang, according to a report in the Cullman Times.Phillips and his alleged partner in crime, who was driving the car, tried to evade the cops but came to a stop after crashing into multiple parked cars, the newspaper reports.
Phillips tried to hop out of the car and make a run for it, but a K9 unit tracked him down hiding in a nearby yard, AL.com reports.
Phillips was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, and was also ordered held at Broward County Jail on an out-of-state warrant for grand theft auto, capital murder, and burglary, according to online records and a statement from the Birmingham police.
[Photo: Broward County sheriff's Office and Miami-Dade County Jail]